Robert Eck, dedicated Santa Claus

February 15, 1993

Robert Oscar Eck, a retired autoworker who played Santa Claus at The Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, died Saturday at Stella Maris Hospice of complications from stomach cancer. He was 67.

Mr. Eck worked at General Motors' plant at Broening Highway for 30 years before retiring in 1981.

He had played Santa at the Towson shopping center for the last five years and enjoyed the role so much that he kept his hair and bushy beard dyed silver year-round.

He could recite "A Visit from St. Nicholas" from memory and kept a collection of gifts and cards from children.

"I want to create a memory for them," he once said about the children who visited him.

The Baltimore native, who had lived in Perry Hall since 1965, was known as "Pop" and always had a lollipop to give any child he might meet.

On Christmas Eve for the last few years, he donned his costume and visited Villa Maria, a home in Timonium for abused children.

Mr. Eck is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, the former Mary Ann Leonard; and two sons, Robert H. Eck, of Perry Hall, and Michael D. Eck, of Carney.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

The family suggested that contributions could be made to Villa Maria, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road, Timonium 21093. Attention: Carol Shear.

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